Carleton University’s underlying value of providing outstanding service is now being nurtured under a new Service Excellence Initiative that will ensure a consistent and collaborative approach to making the Carleton experience a positive one.
The initiative was officially launched in February and Cindy Taylor, associate director of the Office of Quality Initiatives, says the goal is to build on the good work that is already happening at Carleton.
“The Service Excellence Initiative will contribute to a culture of excellence, where we all apply a common standard to all the work that goes on here. It’s important we all understand that we are here to serve students, faculty, staff and the entire Carleton community,” Taylor explains.
The service standards stem from the university’s strategic plan, Defining Dreams, which outlines that, “We strive for excellence in all our activities . . . We recognize that the academic mission of the university is dependent upon outstanding administrative and student support services.”
“It’s about how we deliver our services. This initiative supports the students having a positive experience,” says Talyor. Carleton staff are also role models for students and they “will bring the idea of service excellence with them into their various careers.”
Laura Paliani, an employee in the university’s Co-operative Education office, believes that “by having a caring, inclusive approach, we can show students that they are not just another number, but an integral part of the Carleton community, that they have something to offer and something to share.”
Associate university librarian, Leslie Firth, adds that good service makes a difference to peoples’ lives.
“We are going to take what we already have and, with a bit more strategy, make it easier for the employees to provide excellent service. Our students will see quite a difference.”
Quoting the university’s newly established service statement, Taylor says, “Every day we make the Carleton experience a positive one by providing service that is responsive, reliable and courteous. This statement reminds us of our goals and to take pride in the work we do.
“Service excellence will extend to anyone who works, studies or interacts with us.”
As Carleton’s ambassadors, staff are embracing these standards to make the university’s services accessible and to make a commitment to support academic, professional and personal successes.
All staff and faculty are also undergoing customer service standard training in how to provide an equitable and inclusive environment to persons with disabilities, established by the provincial government’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
“It is important that we all have the same language and understanding of what is expected from us, across the campus,” says Taylor. “This initiative is going to allow a dialogue of collaboration between managers and staff so that we can achieve our ultimate goal of excellence in everything we do.”
Duncan Watt, vice-president (Finance and Administration) agrees.
“How we meet our enrolment targets going forward is greatly determined by the experience that our students have here today. They will go away and tell their younger sister or brother or their friend: ‘I went to Carleton and I had a great experience.’ I think all staff and faculty have a major role to play in that.”